WINTER/SPRING 2011   Cymbeline | Merchant of Venice | Comedy of Errors”

We’ve always refused to be limited by the expectations of what Shakespeare plays are “appropriate” for young performers, and this season, we really pushed the envelope. “Merchant of Venice” remained true to its tradition, and stirred up a little controversy – we received emails questioning why we would expose young people to the themes of this complex play – but our Players faced those themes with thoughtfulness and insight.

In what has come to be known as our “Rare Gem” series, we took on “Cymbeline” – our older students loved exploring the villains and heroes of this epic romance, and many audience members commented on how exciting it was to discover an unfamiliar play.

“Comedy of Errors” continued the themes of losing and finding  family and was beautifully led by our exceptionally strong group of 4th graders, some with as many as five Shakespearean productions under their belts!

SUMMER 2010


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Our 2010 Summer Players explored the worlds of witches, wizards, fairies and sprites in Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest and Macbeth. Our first week culminated in a recital at the Lost Studio, while our second week presented their discoveries at the Brookledge Theater, our original location. Brookledge has a rich history in the world of magic (known as “the most famous address in magic”) and it was a thrill for our Players to prepare for their performance in a Green Room that has hosted the likes of Harry Blackstone, Dante the Magician, Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth, Joseph Cotten and Marlene Dietrich.

WINTER/SPRING 2010 – The Winter’s Tale | Much Ado About Nothing | Timon of Athens”

Due to the growing number of “Drama Club addicts,” we expanded, once again, to offer a third class. Our two 1st to 4th grade classes tackled the comedy and word play of “Much Ado About Nothing” and the rarely performed “Timon of Athens.” Our new class, made up of 4th through 8th graders performed “The Winter’s Tale” (our first evening performances, and first intermission!!)

The challenges of “The Winter’s Tale” took advantage of our older Players’ experience and maturity – they tackled the challenging emotions and epic scope with grace, and audience members were truly moved. Our “Much Ado” cast, led by a few of our Drama Club veterans, were applauded for the clarity with which they told the story. And our “Timon” cast enhanced what is often said to be an “unfinished” play with their insights into money and friendship, and enchanted the audience with their bacchanalian revels.

SUMMER 2009

The Players in our second summer program worked intensively for two weeks on material that reflected our theme “Shakespeare Goes to Greece.” We explored characters in the plays that were inspired by or taken from Greek and Roman history and mythology, including The Tempest, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Julius Caesar, Troilus and Cressida, Comedy of Errors and Timon of Athens. We discussed the importance of myth and storytelling in our lives, and developed our own recounting of the myth of Pandora. We learned about various types of theaters, and created our own theaters and sets. The Players’ work culminated in a recital performance for family and friends, held on the grounds of historic Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, and followed by a trip to Papa Christos Restaurant, where we celebrated over gyros and baba ghanouj. Several of our Players had the opportunity to attend productions of “As You Live It” by Aquila Theater/Shakespeare Festival LA, and “The Tempest” by the Independent Shakespeare Co, where we were treated to a backstage tour by “Sebastian” and “Caliban.”

Love’s Labors Lost

Tuesdays from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Ages: 4th grade and up

Our comedy takes place in the Copa Room at the Sands Hotel circa 1955. Shakespeare’s Rat Pack of Hip, Cool Cats run the show. Literally. The Boys have a business to run and so they make a serious pact to swear off girlfriends, no matter what! They commit to their higher selves, to building their brain and business power and running their club with no girl-related distractions. They have lounge acts to book and financiers to schmooze! Girls just get in the way! And in fact, that’s exactly what they do.

Enter the Belles from France. A phenomenal new Girl Group. All stunning, they present a big problem! Each of the Copa Room Rat Pack Cats meets his match in these savvy Chanteuses. Read more

Winter 2009   Henry IV, Parts i & ii

For our first foray into the rich world of Shakespeare’s History plays, the group enthusiastically leapt into discussions about rebelling when you feel like you’ve been treated unfairly, having a parent who doesn’t understand you, hanging out with friends that your parents don’t like, and what happens (or doesn’t happen) to people who lie to get what they want … and suddenly life in 15th Century England doesn’t seem so far away.

As always, the process was fraught with chaos, as the Players wrestled with the challenging words and concepts. The plays demanded of the Players a new maturity toward their creative work, and through their work, they continued to develop as thinking, questioning artists, passionate about the characters, the stories and the themes.

Fall 2008   As You Like It & Twelfth Night

Our productions of Shakespeare’s two most famous gender-bending comedies, “As You Like It” and “Twelfth Night,” were our biggest challenges yet – it’s true what they say about Comedy being harder! But our Players rose to the occasion beautifully!

In our “Twelfth Night,” Illyria was the scene of a raucous Carnival. The twins, Viola and Sebastian, found themselves in a city with no rules, where Fools in sequins and servants in feathers played nasty jokes on their associates, with no fear of the consequences, and tap-dancing Amazon police officers tried vainly to keep order.

In “As You Like It,” Rosalind and Orlando escaped the rigidity and nastiness of the cruel city, where they were the victims of arbitrary and unfair rules, for the Forest of Arden, where “Do Unto Others” was the law of the land, and where a cast of eccentric characters were all just trying to find someone to love.

2008   Summer Intensive


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Our pilot summer program offered our Players three weeks of discovering Shakespeare through a variety of tools and techniques that we’ve found enlighten and inspire our young Players. They worked on  scenes and monologues, all relating to Polonius’s famous maxim, “To Thine Own Self Be True.” Our Players’ work culminated in a recital performance for family and friends, where we blended the scene and monologue work with a variety of Spolin/Boal improvisational sets. We also enjoyed discovering the world of Shakespeare’s Elizabethan England, and attending productions of “Taming of the Shrew” by Shakespeare Festival LA, and “Twelfth Night” and “Henry IV” by the Independent Shakespeare Co.

2008   Macbeth


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We continued with two classes, but this time, we mixed the veterans with the newer Players – the experience of our long-timers (for many Players, this was their fourth performance) blended beautifully with the enthusiasm of our new Players. We knew that “Macbeth” was the next play we wanted to tackle, and as we worked with the script, we discovered that it broke down quite nicely into two parts that perfectly suited the personalities and talents of our two ensembles. “Part One – Conscience” followed Lord and Lady Macbeth as they struggled with their decisions to, in contemporary speak, “make bad choices.” “Part Two – Consequence” studied the fallout from those choices.

The two sections were presented as a double-header – there was a brief break between the two, and audience members who chose to attend both parts enjoyed visiting area restaurants, who offered discounts to theatergoers.

2007   Midsummer Night’s Dream & Pericles

After the odyssey that was The Tempest, we decided that our families could not regularly commit to such a lengthy endeavor, so we streamlined the process. We also opened up a second class for students new to the LADC, and began our residency at The Lost Studio, Cinda Jackson’s beautiful 99-seat theater on La Brea.

Our veterans, dubbed The Queen’s Players, tackled “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” A script was developed (using only Shakespeare’s words, of course) that focused on the storyline of the young lovers, and of Titania, Oberon and Theseus. Our production was set in the 60s, complete with lots of tie-dye, peace signs and protests. After just 12 weeks of rehearsal, we did three performances in our new space.

Our new Players, The King’s Players, began work on “Pericles,” focusing on the journey Pericles takes to find his family. Originally, our plan was to allow them to get their feet wet with a small recital for family, but they jumped in with such enthusiasm that we juggled things around a bit, and they were able to do a full performance for the public.

2005 – 2006   The Tempest

After the success of the first production, we were inspired to mount a full production of “The Tempest.” We plunged into the process, having no idea what to expect as our young Players took on this challenge. Originally, the plan was to begin rehearsal in the Fall for a Winter production. But we were determined to make the experience more about the process than the product, and Winter passed, then Spring, then Summer, and when Fall rolled around, we were finally ready to show our work to the public. As one mother whose child turned seven during the process commented, “My child has been working on The Tempest for more than one-seventh of his life!”

As the performance approached, we realized that the historic Brookledge Theater was too fragile for the demands we were placing upon it, so we moved our production to The Wilshire United Methodist Church, where we again did two performances for standing-room only crowds.

2004   As You Like It (The Seven Ages of Man)


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The Los Angeles Drama Club began in 2004 when two mothers (also professional actors) gathered a handful of young neighborhood children in the garden of a historic Brookside home to learn about the world of Shakespeare.

Our first production was held in the historic Brookledge Theater. Our fledgling Players, in full Renaissance dress, did two performances for standing room-only houses.

PHOTO ALBUM

Shakesprovisation

This new class gets to the core of the Los Angeles Drama Club technique. We combine the foundation of our classic Improv classes with the characters, stories and words of William Shakespeare. Players will use Spolin games to learn how to respond honestly to the heightened situations in which Shakespeare placed them, Laban Effort/Shape to discover ways to stretch their 21st Century physical habits to encompass the characters he presents them with, Boal exercises to better understand the moral and social dilemmas of the world of his plays, and more. Read more

Play-Acting for Social Justice

Description:
What kind of bystander am I? What should I do when I witness bullying, exclusion, cliques, racism, sexism or discrimination at school, after school, on the block or in the playground?

All the World’s a Stage. What role will you play in life: Bully, Victim, Bystander or Upstander? The Bystander is 90% of all of us. We work to transform ourselves from Bystander to Upstander.

The tools we share and practice help our Players identify their patterns and recognize unjust acts; assess situations and determine what actions to take. Social Injustice is in our faces, no matter what school, neighborhood, place of worship or playground you frequent. Read more

The Mustardseeds

 Thursdays from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm 

We believe that there is no such things as “too young” where Shakespeare is concerned, and this project is designed for our Players in 1st through 4th grade to stretch their creative muscles and take “center stage.” Using movement, improv, rhythm, and story-telling, our younger Players will begin to de-code the secret language of the Bard. They’ll have the opportunity to tell stories and create characters, and through these rich experiences, become friends with the greatest writer of our time.

At culmination, a recital will be presented on stage to family and friends on Thursday, May 3rd, and during the Shakespeare Youth Festival LA, The Mustardseeds will be featured in a “Green Show” preceding the first weekend performances.

The Mustardseeds will be led by Eliza Dean & Crystal D’Angora.

Thursdays from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Feb. 9th – Apr. 26th (12+ classes, coaching, performances)
Performances: April 27th – 29th & May 3rd
Ages: 1st through 4th grade
$400.00

Child’s Name
Child’s Current Grade
Preferred Contact Phone Number
Preferred Contact Email
(add’l contact info will be collected with payment)
Are there any issues (allergies, physical limitations, etc.) we should be aware of when working with your child? Any other comments or questions?

The Hamlet Project

Famed theater director Charles Marowitz says, “Our job is to re-trace, re-discover, reconsider, and re-angle the classics – not simply regurgitate them.” This best describes our coming adventure with THE HAMLET PROJECT (and the entire 2012 Festival Season for that matter).

This eight-month commitment is designed for the L.A. Drama Club  Extremists and Shakespeare “Geeks,” who are as passionate about the process as they are about the performance. Read more

Classic Improv

Using the groundbreaking techniques of Viola Spolin, Agosto Boal, Laban, and Kundalini yoga, energizing all systems of the anatomy, we move, we play, we role play, we develop right/left brain connections, we de-mechanize and re-harmonize ourselves with our Selves.

Improv and Theatre Games are not just for “aspiring actors” – they are for all people; however we notice that those who participate in Improv/Games have an easier time meeting the kinds of demands that Shakespeare’s plays place on us. Read more

Love’s Labors Lost – Viva Las Vegas!

Tuesdays from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Ages: 4th grade and up

Our comedy takes place in the Copa Room at the Sands Hotel circa 1955. Shakespeare’s Rat Pack of Hip, Cool Cats run the show. Literally. The Boys have a business to run and so they make a serious pact to swear off girlfriends, no matter what! They commit to their higher selves, to building their brain and business power and running their club with no girl-related distractions. They have lounge acts to book and financiers to schmooze! Girls just get in the way! And in fact, that’s exactly what they do.

Enter the Belles from France. A phenomenal new Girl Group. All stunning, they present a big problem! Each of the Copa Room Rat Pack Cats meets his match in these savvy Chanteuses. Read more

Improvisation – Spring 2011

Improv is a very much misunderstood modality, it is not performance or result-oriented, but much more a metaphor for our lives. It is about listening, being and responding honestly in the moment. Players are introduced to this work through games and exercises which celebrate spontaneity, and develop confidence, listening & storytelling skills, the ability to be comfortable around conflict, and the ability to work cooperatively in a safe, friendly atmosphere. Using concepts developed by Viola Spolin (Mother of Second City), Augusto Boal (Theatre of the Oppressed) and Kevin Johnstone (Royal Court Theatre), we are in great company.
Read more

Summer Shakespeare Intensive 2011

We are pleased to announce our 2011 Summer Shakespeare Intensive. Students will spend their days discovering Shakespeare through the best tools and techniques theater has to offer. The LADC technique begins with the improvisational work of Viola Spolin and Agosto Boal, and expands on that to include a variety of physical and vocal disciplines – with the ultimate purpose always to invoke the creative spirit that exists in every child.
Read more